Mr. Bird was happy. He was so happy he had to sing. This was Mr. Bird’s song. “I love my house. I love my nest. In all the world My nest is best!” from The Best Nest written and illustrated by P. D. Eastman Beginner Books, 1968
When I was young, I went to sleep-away camp. I took several stamped postcards and wrote my return-address in the corner where it belongs. My parents did not receive their post card. Several months later it finally arrived, un-addressed. My daughter went on a school trip to Germany. We shared her pictures, but when I asked “what’s that?” and “where’s that?” her answer, after a thoughtful moment, “scenery.” My husband and I just returned from a three-week trip to the American Southwest. We traveled in eleven states and three time zones (including a change for/from? Daylight Savings Time). I kept my watch on Ohio time, so I really never knew what time it was. Who cares, anyway!? We toured parts of Route 66 and the Carefree Highway. We toured National Parks, museums, historical sights, places of general interest and places that time forgot. We met people from Canada, France, and Denver and stopped to visit friends in St. Louis, and Mesa, Arizona, and caught up with fellow traveler friends from St. Louis in Phoenix. It was the trip of a life-time. I’ve been on excursions before. Kentucky, most recently. Before that a cruise through the Panama Canal. Before that cross country to Washington State. This time was different. Although we only had a general idea of the trip. When friends asked, I answered, “We’re going out West to see stuff.” We had a plan, but it was vague, overwhelming, really. We knew where we would start. We knew what we wanted to see. We had a map. We had so many ideas from so many friends that we’d need at least another month (and lots more clean clothes) to see it all. In the end, the only thing we sacrificed was The Four Corners and Promontory Point, where the Golden Spike was set at the meeting place of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was too far North for this time of year. We had just put our feet in three states on the trip to Mammoth Cave: Kentucky-Tennessee-Virginia. Aside from the photo-op, all the guide books said there was not much else to do at Four Corners, so we kept going. The Four Corners is only a short way from Cortez, Colorado, near Mesa Verde. We saw the park and skipped the monument, disk, really. I took too many pictures. but brought a notebook so I could name (most of) the scenery. I remembered to address the post cards. Since I like lists, here are some highlights: (Pretty much in the order of the trip) Diners on Route 66 Petroglyphs Trees turned to stone after millions of years Grand Canyon Phoenix Botanical Gardens Wild prickly-pear cactus Wild saguaro cactus Joshua trees Crater left by the “breath-taking result of a collision between an asteroid traveling 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago.” <meteorcrator.com> Lake Mead The strength and courage to build Hoover Dam The creativity to think it up and make the design Miles of wind farms Miles of solar farms Miles of brown earth in every shade from ecru to burnt sienna Ethereal peacefulness inside Broken Arch Winds of Sedona Quaint town of Moab A gold-miner from Oatman, Arizona, who still mines in Alaska, and (he says) makes plenty of money Hopi cliff-dwellings Crossing the Continental Divide in Colorado at almost 11,000 feet.
Our country is vast and beautiful and fascinating. I was astonished and overwhelmed and dazed. It feels good to be home.
An interesting read: Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman.